One week before heads of states and government are to convene a special summit in Brussels to discuss the 2014-2020 budget, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy tabled a €950-billion proposal that is €75 billion less than the Commission's initial recommendation.
Under the proposal, first published by EurActiv France yesterday (14 November), severe cuts are foreseen in agriculture -- a move immediately rejected by Paris -- and in cohesion policy, which would certainly antagonise the newer EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe.
The proposal foresees keeping the UK rebate, but introduces a new system under which the country would pay partly for its own refund.
“We do not accept the proposal to reduce by €25 billion the money for the Common Agricultural Policy, which we consider a policy for growth,” Bernard Cazeneuve, France's European affairs minister, told his country’s parliament yesterday.
On the other extreme, Sweden asked for more cuts. “The revised proposal means some small steps in the right direction but it's not enough,” Swedish EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson said, adding: “We need a clear model for reducing agriculture subsidies.”